Prop. 13 Revolution — A Far Cry From Reality

property tax“Voters May Reconsider Prop 13,” reads part of the headline on the press release about the new Hoover Institution Golden State Poll. However, read the poll and you’ll see we are nowhere near a Proposition 13 revolution.

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The headline is based on a test of the “split roll” approach to property taxes in which commercial property would be assessed more frequently than residential property. When 1700 California adults were asked if they supported the split roll, 39% strongly or somewhat supported the concept, 33% strongly or somewhat opposed the idea.

Most political observers will tell you if an issue doesn’t garner around 60% in early polling it has little chance of passing especially when facing the gauntlet of a political campaign. The Hoover Institution’s finding of 39% means proponents of a split roll campaign have a huge mountain to climb — and they would be climbing it with opposition boulders rolling down the mountain at them.

A multi-million dollar opposition campaign would raise arguments those who responded to the poll were not advised of before replying to the poll question.

The idea that taxes levied on business would not somehow be passed on to consumers or would reduce jobs and effect the economy was not stated.

The information supplied to respondents argued that passing a split roll would lessen the need for more taxes on individuals, hardly a convincing argument when tax hungry lawmakers have their hands out on both the state and local levels.

Stating that business would pay more taxes and individuals would not — in other words, voters were asked if they were willing to raise taxes on someone else– is an argument that has proved effective in recent state tax increase campaigns. Yet, the split roll question still got only 39% support in the poll.

Looking closer at the results, those strongly supporting the split roll concept stood at 13%, strongly opposed was a larger 20%. There is room to move voters who were unsure or did not have strong convictions on the issue.

In an article in Hoover’s Eureka publication that accompanied the poll, it was argued that a key to reformers winning the day is to convince renters to support the split roll and vote. But a lot of that strategy would depend on how apartments are treated under a split roll tax. Are they residential property that will continue under Prop 13 protections or are they commercial property, which under a split roll would be reassessed every year with the tax increase passed on to tenants?

I suppose if you raise most issues you would find about a third of the voters willing to consider change. In fact, a Reuters/Ipsos poll a few months ago found one out of three Californians supported the Golden State seceding from the Union.

Neither a Calexit nor a Prop 13 revolution is close to reality.

Joel Fox is Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. In California a full third of the voters would approve of re-naming the days of the week.

  2. PROP 13

    Noble cause projects typically masquerade for some devious political agenda which in this case “split-roll” is a micro mechanism for vacating California the vehicle of which would be voters who, without realizing it, because they don’t think, would grease the chute w/Proposition 13.

    Consider Fukushima is poisoning the ciastline, SB227 is takining out 6 out of every 1000 infants vaccinated, and that Californians spend their days giggling and laughing, it is not unlikely this regional population effected by idiot DNA would capitulate pathologically obedient to this state’s satanic legislature.

  3. So, if taxes are raised on businesses and those businesses need to stay open, where will those taxes be passed onto…the poor consumers! Let’s raise taxes on ourselves so we have less money and corrupt government has more. What happened to past revenues? Wasted on politician careers who over promised. Will we ever learn before it’s too late or is it already too late? Bankrupt?

  4. askeptic says

    Every land-owner who believes he/she is under-taxed due to Prop-13 is free to send what he/she believes to be the difference between their tax bill, and what the proper amount should be, to their County Tax Collector.
    And then, STFU!

  5. Don’t let the camels nose under the tent. No compromise at all to prop 13.

  6. Gary Von Neida says

    #1, Proposition #13 was written to allow Seniors living on Social Security to remain in Their Homes—it was not meant for business properties—unless We were lied to.

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